Monthly Archives: February 2003

Sustainable Design Exhibit!

Check this out:

If only I can get the student work that I have submitted on time. I’m kind of nervous I won’t be able to, because it’s a lot of scanning and plotting, and besides the using company materials thing, there’s also the nasty working hard at my regular job thing. Oh, the tragedy. Plus, it’s very difficult to get in touch with most of the students because they’ve all graduated. Terrible.

But I think the exhibit stuff that I have to offer is a valuable addition. It’s a good foil to a lot of the recycled materials stuff that will be there, and it’s an unusual course for NYC. Sadly. Everyone should know about sustainable design. Everyone should know how to make a building be cheaper in the long run and also use less electricity and water. Everyone should try to incorporate mixed use development into their urban planning, so there isn’t weird ghost towns after 5PM when everyone goes home from their jobs, or weird ghost towns between 8 and 6 when everyone is at their jobs. Everyone should learn about the true cost of oil, about how we’ve been subsidizing the low cost for years and years by military spending. Or about the true cost of clean, fresh water. Or what it really means to cancel recycling, and to have trucks move more garbage out of the city – what it means in terms of deteriorated air quality, and in wear and tear on roads.

Everyone who can, come to the exhibit. I’ll go with you. I’ll tell you all about this stuff, in more detail than you’ve ever dared to dream there was…

You looking for me? I’ll send you a letter.

Um, someone got to my web page by searching for “photos peeing behind.” Welcome to the interweb! Thank you Google!

(Um, for the record ((mom)) I do NOT have pictures of peeing behinds. The phrase “peeing behind” is on my photo page. Wild.)

Last night I went to a book lecture by Dava Sobel, author of Galileo’s Daughter. That book is one of the most finely written works of non-fiction I’ve ever read. It was fantastic. Maybe I liked it so much because it was about Galileo, and I love science, or maybe it was because it was about a wonderful father-daughter relationship, and I’m sort of a daddy’s girl sometimes. But it was so well written. Sobel translated over 100 letters written from Galileo’s daughter from her convent, and uses it to tell the story of Galileo, the church, and his science. Wonderful.

While I was at the book lecture, I started thinking about letters. I love letters. I’m a real packrat – I have a couple of small boxes at home full of cards and letters. But at the same time, letter writing is a dying form of communication, really. In Italy in the 1600’s, people would write each other letters much as we might call someone to let them know how our day went. Messangers would take letters from person to person, sometimes waiting to collect a response. That stuff charms me. I collect stationary, and try to write letters. I love sitting down with a nice pen and a nice card and some fun stamps and sending notes out to my friends. And then, when I clean my room and come across stacks of old correspondence, I find myself thinking: what the heck am I going to do with this stuff?

In a time when we come across so many old letters and photos in thrift shops, should we worry about keeping a written record of our daily lives? And, should I save letters for posterity when I don’t really think I’ll ever be a famous person of interest, like Galileo was, and people probably won’t want to read my letters?

And what about this computer stuff? With the emails and the on-line journaling, we’re probably reaching a point very quickly where we may not have a handwritten record at all. It’s still fun to write by pen and ink, but it’s harder to take the time and sit down and do so. It’s also slower. It’s so easy for me to keep a window open on my desktop, type for a couple of minutes crazily, and then leave it.

But besides the historic paper trail, what are we losing from writing electronically? I wonder if we aren’t losing the ability to think clearly and concisely. There’s a lot of pressure when you’re writing something by hand to get it right the first time. I think that the habit of thinking through your arguments is a good one to know. It’s very easy when writing electronically to just zip through the middle, write the intro, and then figure out the best conclusion. I mean, I do that all the time. But here I try to do an off the cuff ramble. Sure, I set it aside for hours some times, but it generally comes out just the way I post it. And it probably shows, hey?

The snow here is melting, slowly but surely. My car was covered right over the top but it’s nearly down to the middle of the doors by now. It’s been in the 40s every day. Alternate side of the street parking rules have been suspended all week, and I’ve been reluctant to shovel my car out. Apparently the city has been reluctant to finish up the job as well – because there’re mountains of snow all over town, and primarily in my neighborhood, that haven’t been trucked off and melted yet. It is a huge job, so I understand it’s taking a while. But you know what Jersey City did? They went out on Wednesday night and took off all of the snow. They towed cars, moved snow, and towed the cars back. That’s seriously hard core! They put all the snow in an old reservoir for storage. It’s rock. It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow, which means the snow should melt and melt and I’ll be able to move my car with a minimum of shoveling. That’s my plans for Sunday. Saturday, well, I think I may go to another belly dancing class! Whee! I love it.

The Weekend of Public Opinion.

Went to the protests on Saturday. I took lots of pictures, but I won’t put them up yet b/c they’re old school film style pictures. I’ll have to get them developed, first.

The protests were fantastic! I met up with some friends at the public library where lots of feeder marches were staged, and we marched with thousands of people towards the official rally. The city wouldn’t give us a marching permit, just a permit for a rally, so the marchers were on sidewalks. Until we got near 49th, that is, because first avenue was so full we couldn’t get any closer than third. The streets started to fill up and traffic was halted. People were everywhere, and cars were swamped by thousands of marchers with signs, singing and dancing. It burns my britches that they could have given us a marching permit and then we wouldn’t have shut down the city. But either they didn’t think there would be so many people, or they didn’t want to look like they were “supporting us.”

The police were pretty cool until they realized that they were going to have to get in our way, and then they really divided the marchers up into little groups and dispersed us. They marched a police line down Third Avenue with their clubs held out in front of them to clear out the street, and then where people weren’t moving they stampeded the horses at crowds, and started arresting people. They wouldn’t let us go to First Avenue at all – I heard it was blocked from 42nd to 96th, and I believe it because when we got home we heard that the police had to officially shut it down up to 72nd.

It was a good time, there were drummers throughout the protests, and we had noisemakers left over from new years eve that we tooted (kazoos for peace!). There was an incredible Korean drum group who had set up on a sidewalk and was making some awesome noise. And I think it was all very positive, until the police started to clear the streets. The media was very mixed in reporting it, some places insisted on saying “thousands” while others said there were 100,000 at the rally, and “thousands marching around the city.” I think there was between 400,000 and 600,000 people there – organizers say 375,000, and the police say 100,000, but from what I saw on the news, and the aerial photographs, and knowing how the streets were closed, I lean to saying “greater than 400,000.”

So that’s the anti-war protests. It was fantastic. And while I’m mentioning war, why is it that when the country JOINS NYC on orange alert suddenly we have more ‘protection’ in the streets? If we’ve been at orange this whole time, than either we don’t get more people, or maybe we shouldn’t be at orange in the first place. Someone said to me that this terror stuff is just to scare the pants off of us and keep us from paying attention to other, more important things. Like war, and being stripped of our constitutional rights to express ourselves and meet in protest.

A long, cold, snowy week.

Monday I came to work, rushed around being busy, and then took off at around 4:30 for sunny Upstate New York to visit Lake Nasty, and to be part of a public availability session. We got back on Wednesday night, and it really wasn’t a bad trip at all. Saw some people, chatted with the client, etc. etc.

While we visiting Lake Nasty it was very snowy. Snowy and cold. It was fun, I do kind of love the winter weather (and even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to complain, because of the number of people in my family who work outdoors. In the winter. And often, at night, or in very poor conditions.) and have a perverse (I hear) joy in tromping around in the cold, safely bundled up, warm and snug in my boots and 4 feet of snow. Because there was at least 4 feet of snow on the ground. I mean, I only sunk in to above my knees, but I think there was a bunch under my feet, too. But it was fun.

As we were driving home, though, (and honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was concerned it would be a disaster given other driving experiences with a Certain Someone during dry road conditions) I did some thinking about patience. It’s hard to be patient these days when it’s desirable to drive super fast and get where you’re going as fast as you can and to always do things when you want to and to have access to information and people when you first think you’ll need it.

But in winter weather, you really have to be patient. I was antsy, at the beginning of our drive, and thought for sure we could go a little faster. But as we went down the highway we passed at least 6 cars on the side of the road. Some were just beat up, others were flipped, and resting on their sides. A couple of cars were on their roofs. There were 2 jackknifed tractor trailers, and one of them was in really bad shape, facing the wrong direction with a broken off nose. There was a third tractor trailer that sliced through a guard rail like it was butter, and who had obviously bailed off of the road when he saw the cars in front of him collide. I was concerned for the people in the cars, but my volunteer EMT coworker said he didn’t see any of the typical signs of injury – you know, busted up windows, jaws of death marks, etc.

This weekend, I’m going to go to some anti-war protests/rallys. It should be interesting. I don’t want to get arrested, but, I shouldn’t if I stay on the sidewalks, I think. And hopefully there won’t be any tear gas involved. Hmm.

There have been terror alerts all over the place. I can’t figure out what’s going on, because the US just upgraded to level orange this week, and because NYC has been at level orange for like 2 years, I don’t know why there are so many more cops around. Operation Hercules, they call it, and it involves body armor and machine guns. It makes me nervous. They said there is a very very high chance of terrible things happening this week. Well, we’re almost through it. I hope! Penn station is on fire right now, but I think it’s just a restaurant. There are sirens everywhere. It’s loud and ugly.

I was talking to our client this week on the trip back and he asked if my folks were nervous about me being here. If they are, they haven’t said anything to me – but I told him they weren’t, and that we’d kind of talked about it before, and that it was kind of a “living in fear is no way to live” consensus. Also, bad stuff happens everywhere. There are more people here, which makes us more of a target, but it could happen anywhere.


It’s a blizzard! Whew. It is snowing so very very hard. I love it. We’re supposed to get 2 feet of snow! It started around 6 last night and has been snowing ever since.

I came to work, but it was mostly just to see who DIDN’T come to work. Bizarro, hey? But I’m tough. Not as tough as the mayor says I am (“It’s going to be a rough commute, but everybody will get there,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press briefing Monday morning. “Remember, we’re New Yorkers.” – from NY1 news) because I’m LEAVING, but I’m tough.

So like 6 states are in a state of emergency, Pataki declared NYC a snow emergency, and the streets are full of snow. It keeps piling up. As of now, Manhattan has at least a foot and Queens has up to 20 inches. Man-oh-man.

I took pictures of this, too, but it’s all film. I’m trying out a new mail away developer, so hopefully it’ll be easy and good.

So frustrated at “the Process.”

So, I’m applying to graduate schools, right? Last week was a disaster area getting everything together and out the door. And to exacerbate things, Cooper had to mail things themselves. They told me so. Themselves. Right. So I gave them all they needed for express mail, and trusted them to get the stuff out on Friday. And when did they get it out? Tuesday. I missed all of my deadlines, by FIVE DAYS. That’s not a day, or just a little bit. It’s FIVE FUCKING DAYS. Gah. I don’t know what’ll happen now. Best case scenario? No financial aid. Lordy. Worst? I don’t get in at all.

I just don’t know what I should do now! I guess I should call the applications offices, and try to straighten stuff out. I mean, it’s kind of a tough requirement to send a complete application, including transcript. But at the same time I messed up by not getting this stuff done early in January. Hell.

Well, this comes on the back of an email from one of my universities thanking me for my application and directing me to contact the student recruitment coordinator with questions. What does that mean?

I did ask around, and the overall suggestion is to call. I am doing that, but I am a babbling idiot. See, I don’t mind not getting into a school if they just plain don’t like ME, but if it’s because my alma matter screwed me up, well, that’s something I mind.

(I guess this is a real-time journal. How bizarre.)

OK. School #1 hadn’t gotten it, but they’re cool with that, Oh, wait, they called me back – they do have it. I’m ok!

School #2 is on the west coast! I can’t call until it’s 9ish there, so I’ll wait.

School #3 sent me that weird email. I guess I’ll call to make sure everything is ok?

School #4, I can’t get them on the phone. Um. I don’t know. I’ll try later.

I ought to write Cooper a letter, I guess? Telling them what a terrible thing they did. But I’m a wimp. I really hope I don’t have to go down there and make them write me a letter saying they’re big jerks and are totally at fault. I hope it all works out.

Belly dancing!

I went belly dancing last night! I’ve been thinking about taking a class for some time, and finally I got to it. I went to Serena Studios, which is a little bitty studio room in a rehearsal space building. The teacher, Serena, is a cool cabaret style belly dancer. It was so hard, and so easy at the same time. I was so happy while I was doing it – I’m one of those people who can’t really control happiness sometimes, and find myself laughing out loud from joy. That’s what last night was like.

So these classes are so convenient on Tuesday nights, and also pretty reasonably priced (I think I’ll buy a 10 dance-class card for 85 bucks next time I go). I am going to get a hip scarf, some yoga pants, and really try to learn to dance!

Matt was laughing at me last night, and the way I take up new hobbies with such enthusiasm. It’s true. But at least I try to stick with them, right? Even if I do seem to get busier and busier…

My Knitting

Lorelei came over on Monday night and we had a little knitting party. It was great. I’ve never taught someone to knit before, and I’m a little concerned that I’m teaching her wrong, because she’s left-handed, but she seems to be getting it OK. I need to look up in Knitting Without Tears what Elizabeth Zimmerman says about teaching leftys.

And, I figured out pretty much what row I’m on for my lacy-late Christmas gift-scarf I’m working on! And I’m zipping along on that right now, too. I have been really pulling it out on the way home, I can get 2 rows in on the subway in the AM if I really get started right away.

When I was pulling out yarn for Lorelei to use, I found my sock yarn. Oh, right, I need to make socks – I had forgotten completely! And then this morning on the train I remembered my chinchilla yarn also. Damn. I had a whole line up of projects to work on before I get any new stuff, and I had totally, and conveniently, forgotten!

My weekend at home.

This weekend was pretty good, except for the sadness.

Friday night I stayed at home. I tried to felt my too big hat, but it didn’t work out really. It felted about half as much as I wanted it to. Now, when I wear it folded up, it looks like some kind of weird Dutch conquistador hat. But that’s ok. I’ll just toss it in with my wash the next time so it’ll felt a little more. I don’t mind if it turns into a bitsy little hat. It’ll be cool.

Saturday I got my eyelashes dyed – the single most vain thing I do in the whole world. It’s terrifying, and fantastic. I naturally have white eyebrows and lashes, and when I dye my lashes I really think my eyes look so much nicer.

What happens is this: you lie down on a little bed. She puts cotton under your eyes, close to the lashes, you close your lids, and she paints this dye stuff on them. She turns out the lights and leaves you alone (I always fall asleep). 15 – 20 minutes later, she comes back and rinses, and ta-da! Beautiful dark lashes.

Now the catch is, this is illegal. As I understand it, when a couple of women went violently and painfully blind from using dye made from coal tar, the FDA had the oomph needed to get the Food, Drug and Cosmetic act passed. I think they eyelash dye question is decided on a state by state basis, but in NY it’s illegal. That doesn’t stop me, but when I’m lying there with my eyes closed I can’t help but focus on the very bad things that could happen. And you can’t, really, because then you start to freak out and feel trapped in your dark little room with your eyes glued shut. I don’t know of surroundings much more encouraging to a panic attack than that! And this time was worse because they must have gotten it all over my lids, and they stung. It was good to be able to relax and fall asleep.

After all that, I filled my flat tires with air, washed the car (so much bird poop in my neighborhood) and drove out to Gabulo’s margarita party with a couple of friends. It was super fun, and I mashed avocados with my bare hands, but the blended margarita which was legendary for causing one of Gabulo’s Dad’s friends to try to crawl through a pet door was just not that strong.

Sunday was a nice day. Matt and I tried out the New Manhattan Outback for some beef, and it was great, empty, and pretty much uniformly $5 more expensive than Outback’s everywhere else. And then? Went home, and did nothing. It was great.

Space Mans.

So, the space shttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry this weekend. It’s very sad. Something the newscasters kept saying as I watched local coverage on Saturday morning was that everyone could remember where they were when the Challenger blew up. I can’t remember learning about it at all – I only remember how we reacted to it at school.

I remember being in third grade when the Challenger blew up. We had just moved to New York, and I was in Mrs. Fowler’s classroom. We put up a mural in our classroom display case. I had a t-shirt with a space shuttle on it, and I brought it in to use as a backdrop. Mrs. Fowler, and all of the teachers, were extra sad. She was the first teacher who I really remember well, who treated me as an individual. And I remember faintly how she worked to get through her own sadness, and to find a way to discuss the tragedy with us.

Now, all that said, my parents are outer-space-heads. They loved space. We went to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum a lot. My dad had star maps. Coolest of all, when we lived in TN we had a moonscape mural on our living room wall. It was so rad. When we were little, my brother and I had our first day of school pictures taken “on the moon.” My parents read lots of science fiction, and my dad once walked across the UT campus with Isaac Asimov.

I learned today that the space shuttle program is a scant 22 years old. I had no idea. When we were little, my parents would get my brother and I out of bed, take us down to the sofa bed, and we’d all snuggle together to watch shuttle take-offs and landings. This is one of those events in history that was such a large part of my life growing up that I thought everyone loved space shuttles like my family did. Now I realize that these launches were on TV because they were so new and fascinating, not because everyone loved the space program like we did.